So far Stuxnet isn’t making a big name for itself beyond a select few areas, but it is a dangerous computer worm that has most recently shown up in, of all places, Iran, after being discovered in Belarus. Stuxnet is a security threat that spreads via USB flash drives and it can wreak havoc on industrial control systems. Again, so far a majority of the cases of Stuxnet attacks have been in Asia and the Middle East, but in the age of global travel an infected USB drive can make its way around the world in a lot less than – well, you know. Hackers could utilize the LNK component in Windows – which allows shortcut icons to appear on your desktop to infect PCs. An infected PC then corrupts any USB flash drive inserted into its USB ports. Additionally, there are copycat hackers that release new and more virulent “strains” of the infection.
Meanwhile, no need to give your USB flash drive the evil eye. There are USB protection programs such as USB defender and USB vaccine that are reported to be “fully portable,” which is what we would expect of anything designed for a flash drive. Various companies have released fixes to guard against such malicious ware. Most notably, Microsoft rushed to release a patch for Windows Vista and Windows 7 that would inoculate against Stuxnet. It turns out Microsoft releases such patches on “Patch Tuesdays,” in case you were wondering.